Niantic Labs continues its war against third-party developers who are creating bots and other hacks for use in Pokémon Go.
In a recent turn of events, The Pokémon Company has stepped forward to issue a cease and desist letter to a third-party independent developer. GitHub user Mila432 has been threatened with legal action and prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for violating the terms of service of Pokémon Go.
According to the document uploaded by the user, Mila432 is being sued for “reverse engineering” the game’s application programming interface (API). Doing so helped him and other third-party developers create bots for illegal use against the dictated terms of services.
“Your actions … potentially violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a statute that prohibits the unauthorized access of servers and access which exceeds authorization as well as similar state statues,” reads the letter. “And your inducement of others to violate numerous terms of service provisions violates the CFAA.”
Mila432 broke through Niantic’s API and uploaded the code over at GitHub for others to download and use in their own program. This helped many to create their own versions of bots that allow players to automate gameplay. In other words, the bots keep on playing Pokémon Go even if the player himself/herself is sleeping.
According to the cease and desist letter, Mila432 has seven days to remove the code from GitHub or else face legal action. That time frame has since then passed as the letter was first received on July 28. However, the API code remains live at GitHub where it has been starred more than 2,250 times.
In the past week, developer Niantic Labs pushed an update that banned many third-party applications from accessing the game’s servers. This eventually broke many popular Pokémon-tracking apps which thousands of players were using. Many have been vocal against the developer, stating that the apps helped them utilize their time better. Others have suggested that the third-party features should have been in the game from day-one and Niantic Labs should focus more on improving Pokémon Go rather than banning out people trying to do their work for them.
Niantic Labs is now permanently banning any Pokémon Go account that becomes involved in hacks or exploits; this includes botting as well.